Leg Lifts (Level 2 & Level 3)

The following exercises are the Level 2 and Level 3 versions of the Leg Lifts I posted the other day. Although very similar to the Level 1 version, the Level 2 and Level 3 Leg Lifts are harder to perform. The only difference between the exercises is where you place your hands, but you will realize that the placement of your hands can strongly affect the impact of the exercise.

Leg Lift (Level 2) - Position 1

Leg Lift (Level 2) – Position 1


Leg Lift (Level 2) - Position 2

Leg Lift (Level 2) – Position 2

To Perform a Level 2 Leg Lift:

    1. Lie flat on the ground with your feet together.
    2. Place both hands flat on the ground at your sides (Make sure to keep your back flat on the ground).
    3. Raise your feet 4-6 inches off the ground (Now you are in Position 1 as shown in the first picture pn the left).
    4. With your feet together and legs as straight as possible, lift your legs up to create a 90 degree angle with the floor (You are now in Position 2 as shown in the second picture on the left).
    5. Lower your legs back down to Position 1 with your feet a few inches above the floor.
    6. Raise and lower your legs between Position 1 and Position 2 for the recommended amount of reps (I do 3 sets of 25 reps).




Leg Lift (Level 3) - Position 1

Leg Lift (Level 3) – Position 1


Leg Lift (Level 3) - Position 2

Leg Lift (Level 3) – Position 2

To Perform a Level 3 Leg Lift:

    1. Lie flat on the ground with your feet together.
    2. Raise your arms above your head extending to the wall behind you.
    3. Raise your feet 4-6 inches off the ground (Now you are in Position 1 as shown in the first picture on the right).
    4. With your feet together and legs as straight as possible, lift your legs up to create a 90 degree angle with the floor (You are now in Position 2 as shown in the second picture on the right).
    5. Lower your legs back down to Position 1 with your feet a few inches above the floor.
    6. Raise and lower your legs between Position 1 and Position 2 for the recommended amount of reps (I do 3 sets of 25 reps with this variation as well).


Tips:

    1. You must keep your back flat on the floor during both of these exercise. Form is the most important aspect of these exercises, and if you are not able to perform this exercise, please try doing Level 1 Leg Lifts first to help strengthen your core and prepare yourself for these more advanced variations.
    2. Exhale while lowering your legs from Position 2 to Position 1. This will help activate the correct muscles
    3. CONTROL CONTROL CONTROL!!!! All motions must be as controlled as possible. Fast sloppy motions will not make this exercise affective.
    4. To increase core strength, hold your legs in Position 1 with your feet a few inches off the floor for a second before raising your legs to Position 2.
    5. Specifically for Level 3 Leg Lifts, keeping your hands above your head will assist in stretching out your core giving your abdominals a nice extensive workout.

Hope you find these two new variations helpful. Have any questions or concerns? Email me at corestrengthalec@gmail.com

Leg Lifts (Level 1)

Leg Lift (Level 1) - Position 1

Leg Lift (Level 1) – Position 1

This exercise is excellent for targeting your core, specifically your lower abs. There are many variations to this exercise, but today I will start with the Level 1 variation. Once the Level 1 Leg Lift is mastered, you can then try moving on to Level 2, then Level 3, and so on. I will post some of the other variations in my upcoming posts.

To Perform a Level 1 Leg Lift:

    1. Lie flat on the ground with your feet together.
    2. Place both hand under your glutes, right below your tail bone (Make sure to keep your back flat on the ground).
    3. Raise your feet 4-6 inches off the ground (Now you are in Position 1 as shown in the picture above).
    4. With your feet together and legs as straight as possible, lift your legs up to create a 90 degree angle with the floor (You are now in Position 2 as shown in the picture below).
    5. Lower your legs back down to Position 1 with your feet a few inches above the floor.
    6. Raise and lower your legs between Position 1 and Position 2 for the recommended amount of reps (I do 3 sets of 25 reps).
Leg Lift (Level 1) - Position 2

Leg Lift (Level 1) – Position 2

Tips:

    1. You must keep your back flat on the floor during this entire exercise. There should be no curve in your back. The top of your spine down to your tail bone should be flat on the floor at all times during this exercise.
    2. Exhale while lowering your legs from Position 2 to Position 1. Doing this will activate your abdominals.
    3. Use controlled motions! DO NOT whip your legs up and down as fast as you can. Using slow controlled motions will make this exercise much more affective.
    4. Try holding your legs in Position 1 with your feet a few inches off the floor for a second before raising your legs to Position 2. This will really burn your abdominals and will help increase your core strength.
    5. If you are just beginning, try doing 10-15 reps of this exercise at first and see if you can comfortably perform this exercise. It is important to really push yourself in order to see results, but safety always come first. If you have to start with only doing 10 reps of this exercise, make it a goal to add one more rep every few times you perform this exercise until you reach 20-25 reps per set.

Hope you enjoy this exercise and keep a lookout for the other variations soon to come. Have any questions or concerns? Email me at corestrengthalec@gmail.com

Leg Pull-Ins/Leg Tucks (Level 1)

Leg Pull-In: Position 1

Leg Pull-In: Position 1

The Leg Pull-In is an exercise that specifically activates your upper, middle, and lower abs. The reason I really enjoy this workout is because anyone from a beginner to a professional fitness instructor can benefit from this exercise, and it also is a great transition workout to do between exercises.

To perform a Leg Pull-In:

    1. Find an open space on the floor.
    2. Lean slightly backward (about a 45 degree angle).
    3. Place your hands on the floor, behind your hips, with your fingertips facing forward (toward your legs).
    4. Keep your legs straight and raise them a few inches off the floor (You are now in position 1 of the exercise as seen in the picture above).
    5. While exhaling and tightening your abs, bring your knees toward your chest and raise your torso slightly toward your knees(This is position 2 of the exercise as seen in the picture below). Hold this position for about one second.
    6. Extend back out to position 1 and hold for one second.
    7. Repeat switching between Position 1 and 2 for the determined amount of reps (I usually do about 20 reps).

Leg Pull-In: Position 2

Leg Pull-In: Position 2


Tips:

    1. Exhale while bringing your knees in. When exhaling you will be able to tighten and activate your abs more effectively.
    2. If you are new to this workout, try doing between 5-10 reps, and then increasing the amount of reps you do per set once you become stronger.
    3. This exercise can also be done on a bench or seat. Simply place your hands on the edge of the bench/seat and extend your legs out.
    4. This is one of my favorite transition exercises to do between more intense exercises such as a bench press or shoulder press. This workout will help keep your heart rate up while only exhausting your core muscles and giving the other muscles you may be training some rest between sets.
    5. To increase the intensity of the workout, move your hands next to your hips instead of behind you. This will help activate your entire core more effectively.
    6. For more advanced people, you can add weight to the exercise by using weighted ankle wraps, placing a dumbbell between your feet, or using the cable machine and strapping the cables to your ankles. WARNING: Be very careful when adding weight to any ab workout. Adding too much weight before your body is ready can cause serious injury or hernias.

Hope you enjoy this workout! If you have any questions of concerns, contact me at corestrengthalec@gmail.com

Raised Side Plank

RaisedSidePlank1
This is one of my favorite core strength exercises to perform. The Raised Side Plank is a core strength hold exercise that specifically targets your obliques, but really strengthens your entire core region (obliques, abs, lower back).

To perform this exercise:

    1. Find something to rest your feet on that is about a foot or two off the ground (I usually use a workout bench).
    2. Rest one foot on top of the other and rest your elbow and forearm on the ground.
    3. Lift your hips, core, and upper body off the ground so that they are parallel to the floor. Your upper arm to your shoulder should be perpendicular with the floor.
    4. Hold this position for 1 minute (or for beginners, start with 30 seconds and increase your time once your core becomes stronger).
    5. Repeat this exercise on the other side.

RaisedSidePlank2

Tips:

    1. Make sure the side of your body (obliques) is facing the floor and the front of your body is facing forward.
    2. Tighten you core, your obliques specifically, during the entire exercise
    3. Lift your hips up and keep them parallel to the floor. It is very easy to start drooping your hips to the floor. If they start to fall slightly, really squeeze your stomach muscles to try and raise them back up to maintain the straight body position.
    4. Form is more important than time! You will get better results from holding the correct position for 30 seconds than letting your body concave and turn incorrectly, holding the incorrect position for a longer time.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me at corestrengthalec@gmail.com

Six Pack Abs

AlecModelshot1One of the most common questions I get asked is “What is your ab workout routine?” The answer… I don’t have one. I know it may sound crazy, but I don’t follow any one routine to try and improve my stomach. I have found that if I stick to just one routine, my body may be sore the first few times I do the routine, but then it almost becomes immune to what I am doing and I no longer get sore, tired, and I don’t see continued results.

Suggestions:
I have discovered that learning many different core workouts and frequently changing which ones I include in my ‘routine’ confuses my body and lets me see faster and better results (aka: muscle confusion). I have also learned that your core (abs, obliques, lower back) is a large grouping of muscles that should be treated like any other muscle your work out. When building muscle, it is suggested to focus on a muscle group intensely, and then giving that muscle group a few days to relax and recover. With this said, I only do core workouts about 2-3 times a week. I work very hard doing many different ab and core workouts, basically exhausting the muscles and then give them a few days to really recover so I can hit the workouts hard again when they are ready.

How long do I work my core?
I treat my core like any other muscle; therefore I dedicate a full day to just working on my core. A normal day would include about 30 minutes of cardio, followed by about 45 minutes to an hour of of core exercises. I know many people who do core exercises every day for about 10 minutes after their workouts, but at least in my case, I have found that truly focusing hard on my abs, obliques, and lower back and exhausting them only 2-3 days a week gives me the results I would like to see.